Category Archives: Main

Thinking different about groups and tags in DEVONThink

DEVONThink’s artificial intelligence can be very helpful in organizing a collection of journal articles or other informational documents. To profit from this feature you may need to shift your paradigm: stop to think of DEVONThink’s group hierarchy as a filing cabinet that stores your documents and start to think of it as a catalogue to a filing system that is hidden from your view. Continue reading

Importing Circus Ponies notes into Outline

A few days ago, Gorillized announced a utility to import Circus Ponies notes into their Outline. When you join the “waitlist” for this utility, you are offered the opportunity to inform the developer about the Notebook features that are most important to you1 and you will be notified when the import utility appears. They also offer a 30% discount off the usual price ($40) for Outline for Mac. The iPad version costs $10. Both versions support Dropbox, iCloud Drive, OneDrive and Box. I have no experience with Outline,2 but I will surely try the free trial (14 days), when the time comes.


  1. see my Looking for a Notebook replacement for a list of my favorite features. 
  2. My pinboard bookmarks for Outline

No support for offline use in iAnnotate 4

iAnnotate from Branchfire used to be my favorite tool for viewing and annotating PDFs on the iPad. As I explain on my TechTools page, I sync more than 2 Gb of journal articles on Dropbox with iAnnotate 3 on my iPad. Branchfire recently launched iAnnotate 4, “a major update of the app with features you’ve all been asking for”. It is available for the introductory price of $4 from 3 May 2016 until 11 May 2016. After that it costs $10. It has many new features, including iPhone support, support for viewing and annotating .doc, .ppt, xls and webpages, and the ability to access files from iCloud Drive, Google Drive, OneDrive in addition to DropBox. Unfortunately, Branchfire silently dropped iAnnotate’s ability to download files for offline use and to sync back newly made annotations when reconnecting to the internet. Without this capability the app is no longer useful to me. I think I’ll switch to GoodReader ($5) for all my file reading. GoodReader is a much better tool for reading and managing files than iAnnotate and its syncing abilities are unsurpassed. I have used it since I bought my first iPad years ago. I used iAnnotate because GoodReader’s features for PDF annotation were initially rather meagre, but they steadily improved over time.

Things to keep in mind when working with fields in Bookends

Bookends’ entries (references) consist of a number of fields containing information about an article, book, chapter or other work, such as its title, its author, its location in an encompassing work, and the date of publication. The user knows what type of content a field is supposed to contain because the fields are informatively labeled (‘Title’, ‘Author’, ‘Journal’, ‘Volume’, ‘Pages’, ‘Date’, etc.). These labels allow you to fill in and understand the entries without knowing anything about the inner workings of the program.

This works fine as long as you do not fiddle with the predefined labels, reference types and output formats.
Continue reading